भूमिरन्तरिक्शं द्यौरित्यष्टावक्शराणि; अष्टाक्शरं ह वा एकं गायत्र्यै पदम्, एतदु हैवास्या एतत्; स यावदेषु त्रिषु लोकेषु तावद्ध जयति योऽस्या एतदेवं पदं वेद ॥ १ ॥
bhūmirantarikśaṃ dyaurityaṣṭāvakśarāṇi; aṣṭākśaraṃ ha vā ekaṃ gāyatryai padam, etadu haivāsyā etat; sa yāvadeṣu triṣu lokeṣu tāvaddha jayati yo’syā etadevaṃ padaṃ veda || 1 ||
1. ‘Bhūmi’ (the earth), ‘Antarikṣa’ (sky) and ‘Dyaus’ (heaven) make eight syllables, and the first foot of the Gāyatri has eight syllables. So the above three worlds constitute the first foot of the Gāyatri. He who knows the first foot of the Gāyatri to be such wins as much as there is in those three worlds.
The meditation on Brahman as possessed of different limiting adjuncts such as the heart has been stated. Now the meditation on it as possessing the limiting adjunct of the Gāyatri has to be stated; hence the present section. Gāyatri is the chief of the metres. It is called Gāyatri because, as will be said later on, it protects the organs of those who recite it. Other metres have not this power. The verse Gāyatri is identical with the vital force, and the latter is the soul of all metres. The vital force, as has been said, is called the Kṣatra on account of its protecting the body by healing its wounds; (and Gāyatrī saves the organs of its reciters. So) Gāyatrī is identical with the vital force. Hence the meditation on Gāyatrī is being particularly enjoined. There is another reason. It is the cause of the birth of the Brāhmaṇas, the noblest among the twice-born. From the passage, ‘He created the Brāhmaṇa through Gāyatri, the Kṣatriya through Triṣṭubh, and the Vaiśya through Jagatī’ (Va. IV. 3, adapted), we know that the second birth of the Brāhmaṇa is due to Gāyatrī. Therefore it is chief among the metres. The passages, ‘The Brāhmaṇas, renouncing their desires,’ etc. (III. v. 1), ‘The Brāhmaṇas speak of (that Immutable),’ etc. (III. viii. 8), ‘He is a Brāhmaṇa’ (III. viii. 10), ‘He becomes sinless, taintless, free from doubts, and a knower of Brahman’ (IV. iv. 23), show that a Brāhmaṇa attains the highest end of his life; and that Brāhmaṇahood is due to his second birth through Gāyatri. Hence the nature of Gāyatri should be described. Since the best among the twice-born (the Brāhmaṇa) who is created by Gāyatri is entitled to the achievement of his life’s ends without any obstruction, therefore this achievement is due to Gāyatri. Hence with a view to enjoining a meditation on it the text says: ‘Bhūmi,’ ‘Antarikṣa’ and ‘Dyaus’ make eight syllables, and the first foot of the Gāyatrī has eight syllables. The syllable ‘Ya’ (in the word ‘Vareṇya’) should be separated to supply the eighth syllable. The particles ‘ha’ and ‘vai’ indicate some well-known fact. So the above three worlds, the earth etc., constitute the first foot of the Gāyatrī, because both have eight syllables. The result accruing to one who knows the first foot of the Gāyatrī consisting of the three worlds is as follows: He who knows the first foot of the Gāyatrī to be such wins as much as there is to be won in those three worlds.